She is a former health teacher who has sung and performed guitar in a band referred to as “Blind Monday” in Drugs Hat, Alberta. She was a senior member of a splinter party that advocated for Canada’s Western provinces to secede from the nation.
And now Tamara Lich, 47, has emerged as the general public face and essentially the most seen chief of the trucker convoy towards pandemic restrictions that has roiled the nation’s capital, shaken the nation and prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take the drastic step of declaring a nationwide public order emergency.
Ms. Lich speaks publicly in measured tones, and has develop into adept at deploying social media — and her Twitter feed — to amplify the protesters’ grievances.
At a information convention within the Sheraton Ottawa Resort on Monday, opened to media apart from solely conservative-leaning information retailers for one of many first instances, there was an air of gravitas in a room that echoed with the fixed coughing of dozens of maskless supporters.
Carrying or not carrying a masks has develop into a potent political assertion through the protests and a few Ottawa residents have complained of being taunted by protesters.
“A few of you would possibly oppose our grievances,” Ms. Lich stated to the tv cameras. Like different members of the motion, she doesn’t put on a masks. “Nevertheless, democratic society will at all times have non-trivial disagreements, and righteous dissidents,” she added.
What message self-discipline exists within the protest motion has come comes from Ms. Lich, stated Jay Hill, the interim chief of the Maverick Occasion, a small right-of-center group based mostly out of Calgary, Alberta, created to advertise the separation of Canada’s three western Prairie Provinces from the remainder of the nation. Ms. Lich, who labored beforehand within the vitality sector, has deep ties to the group.
Even earlier than the convoy assembled, its messaging was Ms. Lich’s preoccupation, based on Mr. Hill, who stated she referred to as him a number of instances even earlier than arriving in Ottawa to strategize.
“We had a variety of discussions about staying on message, concerning the want on this modern-day world of politics to have a really clearly outlined message that’s comprehensible and easy, a message that individuals can grasp maintain of and run with,” he stated. “Tamara clearly understands that.”
Ms. Lich performed a number one function in organizing a GoFundMe marketing campaign for the protests that raised $7.8 million earlier than the crowdfunding website shut it down after receiving “police studies of violence and different illegal exercise,” GoFundMe stated.
B.J. Dichter, an official spokesman for the convoy, stated he joined the hassle after Ms. Lich sought assist managing the swell of donations flowing right into a GoFundMe web page. Mr. Dichter has a historical past of spouting anti-Islamist views and as soon as stated that “political Islam” is “rotting away at our society like syphilis.” He has rejected claims of racism.
Throughout the occupiers’ tightly managed floor operations, there are navy hallmarks, outlined and executed by the a number of higher-ups who’ve backgrounds within the armed forces and legislation enforcement, based on main members of the group.
Their group contains oversight of every occupied road by a so-called highway captain, with sections divided and overseen by block captains who function beneath them.
Earlier than changing into a distinguished face of the protests, Ms. Lich was a private coach in Drugs Hat, a city as soon as dubbed “Hell’s Basement,” by Rudyard Kipling for its location on high of giant pure gasoline discipline.
Zach Smithson, an worker at Physique Constructing Depot Health Emporium, the place Ms. Lich used to work, stated she has develop into the discuss of the city.
“I believe we’re all very pleased with her,” he stated.
Ms. Lich didn’t reply to a name and textual content message requesting an interview.
“I’m Jewish,” he instructed the journalist Rupa Subramanya. “I’ve household in mass graves in Europe. And apparently I’m a white supremacist.”